Wednesday, April 21, 2004

L.A. Not-So-Confidential

I didn't meet Russell Crowe once. This is my tale.

You know how movie stars do the rock band thing? Well, Russell is no exception. His band is called 30 Odd Foot of Grunts (pulled from that Virtuosity movie he was in with Denzel), and after that phenomenom that was Gladiator, he decided to tour the States with the boys.

Now, I love Australia, people from Australia, and have a soft spot for thugs. (I've only recently accepted this fact.) I also was doing promotions for the Fillmore, the venue where TOFOG (Nice acronynm, huh? Not!) was going to play, so I wrangled myself a little pre-show DJ gig playing all sorts of cool Aussie indie rock.

Russell & co. were finishing up soundcheck when I arrived. I was supposed to start DJing at 7pm, but nobody told anyone to set things up so I wound up doing it myself. That was a thrill and a half, as the system was absolute shit. It was also balanced on a podium on a stage, so the whole setup would sway like willows in the wind with every step I took. Not fun when you're mostly playing vinyl. Anyway, while the guys were having dinner, I was trying to get someone to find me power for this lovely piece of equipment.

Just inside the main entrance to the Fillmore is a wall consisting of one of a kind paintings and screenprints commemorating the more "special" shows (these are different from the posters that get passed out after shows). One was done for this special night, with a painting of Russell Crowe in his gladiator outfit, singing and playing guitar quite earnestly. It was funny, and not tasteless or tacky. Anyway, Mr. Academy Award disapproved and demanded that it be taken down. I was very disappointed... the first Australian I'd ever (not) met who didn't have a sense of humor...

I played mostly Australian rock (trying to lure any Aussies who may have gotten a ticket before the soccer moms in attendance swallowed them up) and got a couple bites from guys who were really happy to hear You Am I or Hoodoo Gurus. I met a couple of the crew guys who had come with the band and said ole Russell was a little edgy because he was drinking a lot on the tour and was in a perpetual state of hangover. Like I couldn't tell. The guy was as pudgy as he was in The Insider and hadn't shaved in a couple days so he had that "perhaps I haven't bathed either" look.

So the show was alright; they are basically a blues-rock pub band... Fabulous Thunderbirds come to mind. That kind of thing. I'm sure the ladies in attendance were totally pleased. He was pretty hilarious on stage: told lots of goofy stories, begged women not to throw their underthings at the band, played "Name That Tune" with the trumpet player. Towards the end of the gig (a couple cases of Coors later), he got a bit beligerent. He yelled "Shut the fuck up or leave!" at the people chatting over a by the bar, which mostly consisted of husbands who'd been dragged to the show by their wives. He also went after some woman near the front who yawned.

And his opener is now of note: Miss Danielle Spencer, now his wife/ baby momma.

But um... I still woulda liked to have met that bad ass romper stomper. Would curiousity have killed the cat?